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3 attributes new age bosses should embrace in order to empower their travel teams to succeed

According to the GM of Corporate Traveller, Bonnie Smith, good bosses matter now more than ever, especially following the past couple of years where the travel industry really had to hustle and adapt.

Like many bosses in the travel industry, Smith said she had to step up and guide her team through the crazy times.

“And like travel has been changed forever, so have the skills needed to be a leader in the new world. The switch? What we’ve seen is a rise in creative leadership and a decrease in reactive leadership,” she said.

Here are three attributes or critical skills that leaders need now and what it means to be a women leader in 2023 and beyond, according to Smith.

Embracing diversity and inclusion

Smith said that having a team with people from different backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities is essential because it brings fresh perspectives and better ways to solve problems.

“If leaders make sure everyone feels welcome and valued, they’ll be more successful,” she said.

The GM said that leaders should support gender equality and mentor women to help them succeed, as it’s about creating a supportive atmosphere for your team where they can learn and improve together.

“You want everyone to feel empowered to speak up and share their thoughts or ideas without fear of judgment. This helps each team member bring their best self to work and feel like they belong and are valued as part of the team,” said Smith.

Adaptability and flexibility

According to Smith, the pandemic disrupted traditional work dynamics, introducing the concept of a workation, a blend of work and personal life to find balance and efficiency.

She said leaders had to quickly find ways to keep their teams connected and happy while they work from different places.

“In the travel industry, women leaders stand out for their adaptability and resilience when dealing with challenges. They have a keen understanding of how the industry changes and approach problems with a positive and proactive attitude,” said Smith.

Empathy and emotional intelligence

In the face of the recent upheaval, leaders had to develop a deeper sense of empathy and emotional intelligence, too, said Smith.

She believes women in leadership positions can draw on these attributes and promote and support initiatives that help employees balance their work and personal lives – because many know the struggles of juggling work and personal responsibilities.

The GM highlighted that they can work towards creating a flexible and healthy work environment as part of efforts to effect change.

“The journey through the pandemic has truly reshaped the fabric of leadership, requiring adaptability and a deeper understanding of human dynamics. To succeed in this new reality, leaders have to be good at handling change, bringing their teams together, and being emotionally aware,” said Smith.

In conclusion, Smith also emphasised that considering the needs of female business travellers is also vital in the context of leadership.

“Effective leaders understand the human elements of work and travel, prioritise well-being and champion flexibility and trust,” she said.

In light of this, Smith advocates for a travel policy that offers flexibility and support, especially for women who may have additional responsibilities like single parenting.

“A travel policy should allow them time to prepare for their trips and plan their work-life balance effectively,” she said.

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